Is Exposing Racist A-Holes OK If Those Racist A-Holes Are High School Kids?
As we reported earlier, there's a racist "tweet" war waging against re-elected President Barack Obama. The words "nigger" and "monkey" are popular slurs directed at the president by presumably white morons who are upset that they must endure four more years of Obama (gasp!).
But many of these racist assholes aren't your run-of-the-mill, bearded, hillbillies from bum-fuck Arkansas -- they're dopey high school kids, some of whom are from New York.
There's nothing we love more than exposing a-holes for the a-holes they are -- and subsequently making their lives as difficult as humanly possible. But we also took a few journalism ethics courses, where we learned that -- with a few exceptions -- kids are off limits, regardless of how ignorant they may be.
That said, Jezebel over the weekend published a brilliant blog post that not only named several of these racist, teenage idiots, but called their high schools. In some cases, the website contacted colleges at which the students (supposedly) were set to receive scholarships.
After the election, Kodie Girton tweeted, "The movie 2012 first New York floods and there is a nigger in office also. See a coinensadince." A quick Google search brought up a local newspaper article reporting that in May 2012 Girton had signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Indiana State University on an athletic scholarship. A call placed to the college revealed that was not the case.
Joel McMullen, the Assistant Athletic Director for NCAA Compliance, said that Girton was never offered an athletic scholarship. Instead, he was a "recruited walk-on" which essentially refers to any player on a team who did not receive a scholarship. He was recruited to play baseball, but there was no binding agreement between him and the school. But the difference doesn't matter anyway, because according to McMullen, Girton didn't meet the NCAA academic requirements to attend the university, adding, "He has never been a member of our team or student body."
Girton has since deleted his Twitter account.
The website provides the following explanation for its decision to teach a few racist high school kids a very public lesson that could potentially follow them for the rest of their lives.
We contacted their school's administrators with the hope that, if their educators were made aware of their students' ignorance, perhaps they could teach them about racial sensitivity. Or they could let them know that while the First Amendment protects their freedom of speech, it doesn't protect them from the consequences that might result from expressing their opinions. (For example, an adult woman is currently being investigated by the Secret Service for calling President Obama a "nigger" and suggesting he be assassinated on her Facebook page.)
Additionally, several of the teens use imagery of their high schools' sports teams on their Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. If nothing else, it's reasonable to alert administrators to the behavior of the students who are publicly representing their schools.
Using the school's imagery or not, this is the Internet -- and this article could have long-standing consequences for many of these kids, many of whom are student athletes who are hoping to receive athletic scholarships.
But -- like Jezebel -- we don't particularly care; despite enduring multiple ethics classes, we fully support Jezebel's decision to expose these little twerps.
High school kids -- by definition -- are idiots. But that's not an excuse for this type of garbage, and the First Amendment -- as these kids will learn at some point -- comes with consequences. Not to mention, little racists often turn into big racists -- so it's probably best to attempt some re-programming before it's too late.
But we know some journalism professors who probably would disagree -- namely because none of these kids have broken any laws. They're just idiots.
We want to know what you think, though: Is exposing racist assholes ethical if those racist assholes are teenagers?
Cast your vote below.
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